We’ve all heard of the keto diet, but what exactly is it? In this article, we break it down so simply an 8th grader can read it. The keto diet is a great way to rapidly lose weight loss, and includes many delicious foods that make dieting much easier, like all the cheese and fat you want 😉
Read on to discover all things about the keto diet, explained in a way that will allow you to wrap your head around it.
A quick “keto” explanation.
Let’s break this down simply, in three points.
- Keto is short for ketosis.
- Ketosis is an internal state in your body, when your liver burns ketones for energy.
- Ketones are simply fat stored in your blood.
Period. That’s it. Keto is when your liver is burning fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.
What does it mean to be in ketosis?
Ketosis is when your body is actively burning ketones for energy. When the body is in ketosis, you’ll have fats that are circulating in your blood that convert to glucose (blood sugar) via the liver. Think of it this way, if you ate fat and nothing but fat… your would have fat circulating in the blood (in the form of ketones). Those ketones, once they hit your liver, get converted into glucose for energy. Because the liver is doing more work to convert fat for fuel, it’s studies have shown that the keto diet is good for fatty liver disease.
Use Keto Strips to Test
You can buy keto strips to test if your body is in a state of ketosis. This allows you to closely monitor carbohydrate intake to make sure you don’t slip out of ketosis.
A Keto Diet Explanation
- 70-75% healthy fats
- 15-20% protein of any kind
- 5-10% complex carbs
The ketosis or “keto” diet is a diet consists mostly of fat, with some protein, and very few carbs. The objective of the diet is to get the body into a state of ketosis so your body burns skeletal fat for energy quicker than it normally would. Generally, the recommended breakdown of the macro nutrient intake is above.
Let’s break that down more for you.
What is in a keto diet?
You’re probably curious to know what’s in a keto diet. Since the liver needs ketones to be in ketosis, you need to eat a lot of fats. When we say a lot, we mean A LOT. Think, olive oil, avocado oil, mayo. That’s all okay on the keto diet. But to keep your cholesterol down, you want to stick to healthy fats that increase HDL and lower LDL for heart health.
Suggested Fats To Eat
The following fats should be added liberally to your diet. You can’t really overdue these:
- Avocado oil
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Grass Fed Butter
- Heavy cream
The following fats should be eaten in moderation: sunflower oil, safflower oil, and corn-based oils. It’ll be easy to avoid these foods if you avoid packaged foods, as that is where they are found.
Suggested Proteins on Keto
The following proteins should be eaten often, as they have a lot of healthy fats.
- Grass-fed beef patties and steaks
- Eggs, Eggs, Eggs – Whole eggs!
- Fish, especially salmon and non-smoked sardines
- Chicken (dark meat)
Bacon, and low fat protein like skinless chicken and shrimp proteins, should be eaten in moderation. If you do eat them, you better eaten with something fatty on top 😛
Suggested Carbohydrates for Keto
Since keto is extremely low carb, you definitely want to get most of your carbohydrates from vegetables. Low glycemic carbs, like leafy greens, have the smallest impact on your blood sugar levels. Try these:
Other good vegetables to eat in moderation include leaks, squash and eggplant.
Consume Many Nuts
Nuts, which are high in fat and have anti-inflammatory benefits helping fight off disease, are a staple on the keto diet.
- Chia Seeds
Keto Friendly Dairy
The BEST part about keto is that you can eat as much of certain cheese as you want 🙂
Remember, since fats are such a staple in the keto diet, you want to have fattier dairy products too. Here are the best keto cheese you can eat liberally.
- Cheddar Cheese
- Feta Cheese
- Bleu Cheese
Full-fat cottage cheese, ricotta and plain Greek yogurt are great options as well, though in moderation.
What to avoid on keto?
Half the battle of Keto is knowing what not to eat. Here is a quick shortlist to stay the course with your diet. These are the foods to avoid on keto:
Fats to Avoid
- Artificial trans fats should never be consumed.
- These are horrible for your cholesterol levels.
Proteins to Avoid
- Junk processed meats (i.e. SPAM)
- Never eat lunch meat
- Processed foods like chicken nuggets
- Marinated meat loaded with sugar.
Carbohydrates to Avoid
- Sugars, no matter what.
- Most fruits
- Ice cream or anything sugary
If you’re really jonesing for something sweet, check out what Keto Friendly Starbucks Drinks you can have.
A Summary of the Keto Diet Explanation
The skinny on the keto diet is that it’s mainly a fat based diet, to allow your liver to burn fat instead of carbs. When your body burns fat by consuming fat, it tricks the liver into burning skeletal fat. That’s why the diet works so well for weight loss.
This is Berk from the JarKitchen Team. I am a Mechatronics Engineer and I like cooking in my spare time. By bringing my engineering background into the business, product reviews are a specialty for me. During my travels across Europe, I have learned/tested many recipes and now I plan to bring them to you here!